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Home > Foreign policy > Goals and Priorities
 
GOALS AND PRIORITIES
 

The Republic of Macedonia, through its foreign policy at both bilateral and multilateral level, promotes its national values and interests. The European and the Trans-Atlantic integration processes represent vital interest to the long-term stability, security, and well-being of the Republic of Macedonia.

• The Republic of Macedonia is committed to fulfilling five foreign-policy priorities: NATO membership, getting date and commencing the negotiations for full-fledged membership of the European Union, abolishment of visas for Macedonian nationals, overcoming of the issue of the name difference imposed by our southern neighboring country, and, strengthening the economic and public diplomacy.

• The Republic of Macedonia has fulfilled all criteria relating to the membership of the Alliance and has implemented the required reforms. In the Declaration of the NATO Bucharest Summit, there was clear recognition of our dedication to the values and operative activities of NATO and progress in the reform process. Due to the opposition by the Republic of Greece, the Alliance would send the invitation for NATO membership after finding a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of the difference concerning the name of the Republic of Macedonia; to this end, talks are being conducted under the auspices of the United Nations. The NATO membership of the Republic of Macedonia would mean long-term stability and security not only for the Balkans, but also for the Euro-Atlantic region on the whole and so the commencement of the finalization of the concept for a Europe, whole, free, and in peace.

• In its relations with the European Union, the Republic of Macedonia is fully committed to fulfilling the benchmarks, i.e., the eight key priorities in the Accession Partnership for Macedonia, as defined by the European Commission in March 2008. We expect that our efforts and achievements would be accordingly valorized by the European Commission and by the EU Member States, so that by the end of this year the European Commission would make suggestion for commencement of the accession negotiations, and then have the European Council make corresponding decision as well.

• The Republic of Macedonia expects by the end of 2008 to have successful outcome of the dialogue on visa regime liberalization, i.e., that the European Commission would initiate the legal procedure for abolishing the visa regime towards the Republic of Macedonia. Being a candidate country for EU membership, the Republic of Macedonia, in its accession process, constantly creates internal law mechanisms, instruments, and capacities to have harmonization with the law of the European Union in the field of justice and home affairs.

• The Republic of Macedonia participates in active and constructive manner in the negotiations process under the auspices of the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General, Ambassador Mathew Nimetz, in order to overcome the irrational issue imposed by the Republic of Greece concerning the difference about the name of our country. The Republic of Macedonia is continuously engaged in finding a mutually acceptable solution that would not infringe on the Macedonian national identity, language, and culture.

• The Republic of Macedonia is committed to constant strengthening of its strategies partnership with the United States of America and developing comprehensive partnership relations with the EU and NATO Member States; in this regard the Republic of Macedonia pays special attention also to the relations and cooperation with other countries, above all with the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China.

• In the relations and cooperation with countries in the immediate neighborhood, promotion is made of good-neighborliness and friendship, and so of preparedness for overall cooperation in several fields of common interest. Good-neighborly relations, as one of the priorities in the foreign policy, represent original determination, instrumental in enhancing mutual trust and, at the same time, a complementary factor on the accession road of the Republic of Macedonia towards the European Union and NATO.

• Building comprehensive cooperation ties with all countries in the immediate and wider neighborhood – at both bilateral level, and within regional initiatives and projects by taking part in the existing initiatives of regional cooperation in the entire region of South East Europe – makes an active contribution by the Republic of Macedonia in building relations of security, stability, and cooperation in South East Europe.

• The Republic of Macedonia is continuously engaged in promoting and further enrichment of relations with democratically committed countries with which the Republic of Macedonia has, to greater extent, traditionally good and developed relations.

• The Republic of Macedonia actively participates in the work of all major international organizations, both at global level: the UN and specialized agencies, WTO, as well at regional level: OSCE, Council of Europe, etc., as the most efficient way for the protection of the world peace and security from the contemporary global threats: terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, organized crime, then for the protection of the environment, addressing economic and social problems, (dis)respect of human rights, etc.

• Promotion of economic potentials and opportunities to invest in the Republic of Macedonia, as well as conducting active economic foreign policy, is meant to have intensification and contents enrichment of the bilateral economic ties with countries of the region, Europe, and the entire international community.

• Taking in consideration the significance of the national identity and the values of the Macedonian people for sovereignty, independence, and security of the state, the Republic of Macedonia attaches special importance to the promotion of the national, culture, and spiritual identity beyond the borders of the Republic of Macedonia.

• Care for the position of the Macedonian communities living outside the state borders, and for the improvement of the legal status and treatment of the Macedonian national minority in other countries, in conformity with international treaties and concluded bilateral agreements, represents one of the major foreign policy goals.

• The Republic of Macedonia participates in peacekeeping missions (UN, NATO, EU) in support of peace, security, and stability. Presently, Macedonia contributes with about 240 officers to the international operations, or, about 3.5% of its own military forces. The Republic of Macedonia participates with own troops in Afghanistan (ISAF), Iraq (Iraqi Freedom), Bosnia and Herzegovina (ALTHEA), and Lebanon (UNIFIL), and also provides logistical support to KFOR in Kosovo. With regard to the participation in NATO-led international missions, the Republic of Macedonia has been given the highest assessment by NATO, which sees our country as a stable military partner to the Alliance.

POSITIONS AND VIEWS OF THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA ON CERTAIN FOREIGN-POLICY ISSUES

Position of the Republic of Macedonia on the EU enlargement

The Republic of Macedonia, being a candidate country for EU membership and so a part of the enlargement process of the European Union, supports the project of European unification, as the only model for common creation of the future, which has enabled the European continent to enjoy the longest period of peace, stability, and economic prosperity.
The Republic of Macedonia welcomes the renewed consensus within the European Union to continue the Union enlargement process with the countries that are already part of that process, as confirmed at the meeting of the European Council in June 2008 under the Slovenian Presidency. The Council concluded that further progress in the relations between Macedonia and the European Union is possible to have by the end of this year, if conditions cited in the 2005 conclusions of the European Council and the Copenhagen criteria are fulfilled. It is of special importance that the consensus reached, based on principles of consolidation, conditionality, communication, and the capacity of the European Union to integrate new members, does not foresee introduction of additional membership criteria.
The Republic of Macedonia follows attentively the course of ratification of the Lisbon EU Reform Treaty and expects that the outcome of the Irish referendum would not lead to slowdown in the integration process of Macedonia into the European Union.

International terrorism

The Republic of Macedonia takes active part in the global activities in context of combating terrorism within the UN, EU, NATO, OSCE, the Council of Europe, and other relevant organizations.
The activities within the UN system are articulated by implementation of the conventions and instruments we have signed, and out of 13 (thirteen) conventions 11 (eleven) have been ratified. Ratification procedure is under way for the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, and the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf. In 2006, ratification was made of the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (signed in 2005). Ratification was also made of the Convention on Nuclear Safety, while in May 2006 a special Law on the ban of development, production, storage, and use of chemical weapons was passed, in order to implement the UN convention of the same name.
In accordance with the UNSC Resolution 1373 (2001), the Republic of Macedonia continues to have active cooperation with the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UNSC, and to date the Republic of Macedonia has filed one initial and three additional reports on the implementation of the obligations at national level in combating terrorism. Delegation of the Executive Directorate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UNSC visited our country in May 2006 and prepared a Report on the activities and capacity of the Republic of Macedonia in combating terrorism, with corresponding recommendations. The Republic of Macedonia undertakes activities and continues the dialogue with that UNSC Committee on implementing the recommendations.
The Republic of Macedonia has supported the adoption, on 8 September 2008, of the UN Global counter-terrorism strategy and is engaged in implementation of the Action Plan and measures cited in that UN Strategy.
The Republic of Macedonia makes efforts to overcome the remaining differences as soon as possible concerning the text and have definite adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism, within the Sixth Committee of the UNGA.
The Republic of Macedonia is also engaged in similar activities in combating terrorism within the Council of Europe, whereby the Republic of Macedonia has signed or ratified almost all relevant conventions and instruments in this subject matter. Procedure has been initiated to sign the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism. The Republic of Macedonia is actively involved, through its experts, in the meetings of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on Terrorism.
In context of the regional cooperation, in October 2006 the Republic of Macedonia signed the Pact on Combating Terrorism and Organized Crime together with six other countries in the region (Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Romania, and Albania).
Following the tragic 9/11 events, we have become aware that international terrorism is rather serious threat to peace and democracy in the world. Democracy is based on the belief that all human beings are born equal and have natural right to live in freedom. We must have will to defend these principles and that is why the Republic of Macedonia will continue to offer its full support and will be actively involved in efforts of the international community in combating global terrorism. The Government of the Republic of Macedonia is fully committed to combating terrorism financing and undertakes different activities in this regard. The provisions of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Macedonia are in conformity with the international criminal law standards relating to combating terrorism. The Directorate for money laundering prevention (established in 2002) has drafted a proposed law on prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing which should be adopted by the end of 2007 and whose aim is to have further harmonization of the domestic legislation with international regulations addressing this field. The Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia recently adopted the Law on restrictive measures (entered in force on 1 June 2007). In order to improve cooperation among various bodies and institutions in this field, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia established the Advisory body on prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing. The Republic of Macedonia is state party to all major international law instruments on combating international terrorism (UN and Council of Europe).

Afghanistan

The Republic of Macedonia reiterates its strong support to the Government of Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism and the general efforts to strengthen the rule of law. Macedonia remains committed to help the Afghan people to achieve lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. We reaffirm that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.
We will continue to maintain military presence and be part of NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan (currently, the number of deployed troops reaches 130). We welcome the commitment of the ISAF contributing nations to ensure that ISAF has the forces, resources, and flexibility needed to ensure the mission’s continued success.

Iraq

Republic of Macedonia welcomes the results from the Annual Review Conference of the International Compact with Iraq, held on 29 May 2008 in Stockholm and Iraq's 6-point proposal for a “Partnership for Development”. It is encouraging that the participants affirmed their support for the Compact as well as their intentions to promote investment and trade. Also identified are the interconnected issues of national reconciliation, human development, human rights, reconstruction and anti-corruption, as vital areas of mutual concern over the next period.
We strongly condemn suicide bombings and we convey our sympathy and condolences to the victims’ families. We call on all Iraqis to join together to reject violence, consolidate, for the good of all citizens, progress made in law and order and help find the path to reconciliation, peace and security.
Republic of Macedonia supports Iraq in the effort to build a united, federal and democratic country, at peace within and beyond its borders, and en route to sustainable economic self-sufficiency and prosperity. The Republic of Macedonia will continue to maintain military presence in Iraq and to be part of the Coalition of the willing (currently, the number of deployed troops reaches 40).

Iran

Republic of Macedonia welcomes the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008) which impose sanctions on Iran for failure to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. We are deeply concerned from the lack of co-operation of Iran with the IAEA and we regret that Iran has not taken the steps required by the Security Council.
We are concerned at the fact that Iran tested short- and medium-range missiles in July 2008. Such missile tests can only heighten the concern of the international community at a time when Iran has still not implemented Security Council Resolutions 1696, 1737, 1747 and 1803, and, in particular, has not suspended its sensitive nuclear activities.
Macedonia hopes that Iran will finally to respond to the demands of the entire international community, as expressed in the Security Council Resolutions, so as to reach a negotiated solution to the nuclear issue.


Taiwan

The Republic of Macedonia is repeatedly reaffirming its position that there is “one China”, and that The Government of The People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate Government of the people of China, while Taiwan is inseparable part of the Chinese territory. Thus, The Republic of Macedonia hopes for and supports the successful resolution of this internal Chinese issue, through a peaceful political dialogue, in order to achieve the aspirations of the people of China for its final reunion.
North Korea
The Government of the Republic of Macedonia expresses its satisfaction with the results of the most recent Six-Party talks which took place in Beijing from 10 to 12 July 2008, and hopes that those talks will continue with the aim of achieving the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of the whole of North Korea's nuclear programme, in accordance with the objectives of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718. It welcomes the progress made towards resolving the North Korean nuclear issue, via the diplomatic efforts deployed.

Middle East Crisis

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia very closely follows the developments in the Middle East. We give our full support to the work of the Middle East Quartet that has international responsibility for the Road Map and we welcome the efforts of the United States and other concerned parties as expressed at the Annapolis summit in November 2007. Republic of Macedonia considers the Road Map as the only way to realize the vision of two democratic states, living side by side in peace and security.
Negotiations between Israel and Palestine must be resumed because that’s the only viable way of bringing peace and security to the people of the Middle East.
Palestinians must overcome divisions on its side and they need to abide by international agreements made in the name of the Palestinian people in the past, because Israel is entitled to peace and security. But Israel must also abide by international law. Peace is only possible if everyone accepts their full responsibility.

Lebanon

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia welcomes the formation of the Lebanese government. We congratulate the President, Michel Suleiman, and the Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, on their determined action to reach an agreement between all the parties.
The formation of the unity government is an important stage in the implementation of the Doha agreement, which, under the aegis of Qatar and the Arab League and on the basis of French and European efforts in particular, made it possible to end the political and institutional stalemate that had paralyzed Lebanon for too long.
The application of the agreement – ministerial declaration, national dialogue, electoral law and preparation of legislative elections – must be pursued. We reassert our full support for the institutions of Lebanon to ensure the unity, stability and sovereignty of the country. Macedonia will continue its support at all levels in favor of an independent Lebanon.
 
Sudan (Darfur crisis)

Republic of Macedonia welcomes Abyei agreement in Sudan. This progress in negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the Government of Southern Sudan to resolve the dispute over Abyei represents a significant step forward in search for lasting peace in Sudan. We hope the implementation of the agreement will come as quickly as possible, so that the people of Abyei can return to their homes.
Progress on wider national and regional issues is essential to efforts to bring peace to Darfur. The Republic of Macedonia welcomes the appointment  of Mr.  Djibril Yipènè Bassolé, as the Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur. We hope that this and other efforts of the International community will be steps forward for resolving the five-year conflict that has killed an estimated 300,000 people and displaced 2.7 million others. We look forward to a progress in relations between Sudan and Chad, following the 8 June meeting of the Dakar Contact Group.
Republic of Macedonia condemns the intervention by Sudanese forces at the Kalma displaced persons camp in South Darfur on 25 August 2008, which killed dozens of people and injured many more, mostly women and children. We urgently call on the Sudanese government to shed full light on that intervention, respect international humanitarian law and not interfere with UNAMID action.

Georgia

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia is following the developments in Georgia with special attention and concern, especially after the recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by the Russian Federation.
Welcoming the ceasefire Agreement, reached with the mediation of France, in the capacity of EU presiding country, we are giving our support for its full implementation that will ensure faster normalization of the situation in Georgia.
We think that the peace process should continue until reaching a permanent solution based on complete respect of the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries, in compliance with the international law.
The Republic of Macedonia will continue its endeavours for respecting the international humanitarian law, which will enable timely distribution of international aid in the most critical areas and places in order for the population affected by the military conflict to receive the necessary assistance.
Furthermore, we welcome the additional efforts of the EU and OSCE for prompt stabilization of the situation in Georgia.

 
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